Veteran-Owned Food Businesses Get Priority in New Cash Assistance Program

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A veteran's hat sits on a table during a breakfast event.
A veteran's hat sits on a table during a breakfast event at a restaurant, November 1, 2018 in Clarksville, Tennessee. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A new economic assistance program for food service operators will begin accepting registrations on April 30, 2021, and for the first three weeks, veterans will be given priority treatment.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and provide economic assistance to food service owners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will provide business owners with direct cash grants to make up for losses they may have suffered because of the numerous state and local government-imposed COVID-19 shutdowns and other economic factors that may have affected their business operations.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. April 30, with applications being accepted until noon May 3. Applications from businesses owned by veterans, women and socially or economically disadvantaged individuals will receive priority handling for the first 21 days of the program. After that, all applications will be processed in the order received. The program will continue until its $9.5 billion in funding is gone.

While the program is being implemented and administered by the Small Business Administration, there is no limitation on the number of employees an eligible business can have.

Two other assistance programs created by the federal government last year to help small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic ran out of funding in record time. Those programs had much more funding but were not limited to food service enterprises.

The new program will provide direct cash payments for pandemic-related revenue losses to eligible food service businesses including:

  • Restaurants;
  • Food stands, food trucks and food carts;
  • Caterers;
  • Bars, saloons, lounges and taverns;
  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars;
  • Bakeries whose onsite sales comprise at least 33% of gross receipts;
  • Breweries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, wineries and distilleries whose onsite sales comprise at least 33% of gross receipts;
  • Inns whose onsite sales comprise at least 33% of gross receipts; and
  • Licensed alcohol producers that allow the public to taste, sample, or purchase products.

There is a limit of $10 million in funding per business. The money does not have to be repaid as long as it is used in accordance with regulations.

"Restaurants are the core of our neighborhoods and propel economic activity on main streets across the nation," SBA administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a press release. "They are among the businesses that have been hardest hit and need support to survive this pandemic. We want restaurants to know that help is here."

For More information

For more information, visit sba.gov/restaurants or view the program guide at https://www.sba.gov/document/support-restaurant-revitalization-funding-program-guide.

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